The summer semester is underway and we are excited to have the opportunity to work with four innovative companies for our Leading Change Practicum.
All four of this semester’s projects are confidential in nature, and each has it’s own very unique set of challenges. First, one team is partnering with an accelerator to help launch a social enterprise. Next, one of our consulting teams is providing aid in launching a new technology. Furthermore, another team is providing insight on how to improve customer satisfaction and market reach for a local customer. Finally, one team is heading up a project involving waste to energy. Overall, each of these endeavors is on the cutting edge of their respected fields, and each project will ultimately create a significant impact in their markets.
For one of our consulting projects, one of our teams tackled the blight of eyesores in Pittsburgh. In cooperation with Phipps Conservatory, this team identified potential locations for urban green space that are currently underutilized. This city has a great opportunity to improve its health, economic, and attractiveness by incorporating more green space into it’s city limits. With multiple areas of Pittsburgh undertaking great strides in their development, this is the perfect time for this project. The members of this team “utilized design thinking” to complete their project plans, while also “beginning to understand the complex environment in which a community project of this size lives,” and “how to overcome the barriers” associated with this type of project. The team wants to send a special thanks to Phipps Conservatory for this fantastic opportunity.
Without giving away too much information, one of our MBA Sustainability consulting teams was working with Eat’ N Park Hospitality Group as they expand their restaurant empire and onsite catering business. This team worked on the cutting edge of sustainability initiatives within the restaurant industry and had an amazing time doing it.
One of our MBA Sustainability consulting teams just completed working with the Green Building Alliance to research and develop better financing options for “Green and Commercial Renovations.” They explored successful and emerging trends in sustainable renovations for older buildings, and how to keep the “first cost” down when these renovations occur. This team has described their experience as “challenging but rewarding,” and enjoyed the opportunity to work with the GBA.
Designing an urban oasis in cooperation with Phipps Conservatory, developing an innovative restaurant concept in conjunction with Eat’N Park, and identifying best practices in financing sustainable building construction and renovation with the Green Building Alliance are the three consulting projects our cohort is working on this semester!
Each of these endeavors comes with a unique set of challenges, and our cohort is eager to utilize the many frameworks, theories, and ideas that we have learned throughout our time in the MBA Sustainability program in real-world applications. We believe that these three ventures are ideal for implementing sustainable principles throughout the city of Pittsburgh.
We are thankful and excited for the opportunity to work with real world companies, and make a positive change in multiple industries!
In “Back to the Future II” (1989), Doc raids Marty’s garbage and turns it into fuel for his DeLorean. No longer science fiction, converting waste to energy (W2E) is the absolute cutting edge of renewable fuel in the United States, and it could be coming to Pittsburgh soon.
For our first consulting project, we are collaborating with quasar energy group to explore feasibility and public-private partnerships for turning bio-waste into energy. On a rainy day in late October, our MBA Sustainability class, accompanied by several professors and graduate students from Duquesne’s environmental science program, took a trip to Wooster, Ohio. Why Wooster, you ask? Wooster is home to quasar’s partner, Ohio State’s agricultural institute, and their flagship anaerobic digester facilities that turn bio-waste into energy.
Anaerobic digestion technology provides clean, renewable energy for our homes and cars. The process takes organic waste and breaks it down in the absence of oxygen to harvest the energy insides. When forty percent of food produced in America ends up in a landfill, this technology aims to provide an alternative. The opportunity is huge: In just the 2nd quarter of 2015, Allegheny County sent almost 407,000 tons of waste to the landfill!
We are ecstatic to be tackling such a massive problem. As one student named Mark said, “Coming from the energy field, I am really looking forward to working with anaerobic digestion technology to help find renewable solutions to our country’s energy issues.”
“Doc needs fuel” clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HYoq6vIVXc
 NRDC Issue Paper – Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.
 “Municipal Waste Disposal Information.” Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Waste Management. 11 Aug, 2015. Web. 30 Oct, 2015.
We are excited to announce our Spring Project Clients! This semester we will be working with the following organizations on a variety of process improvement challenges.
- Circadiance: Quantify emerging trends for the adult CPAP mask market and forecast commercial potential for line extensions
- Class-G: Analyze tools and processes for improving health, productivity and environmental impact of commercial properties and recommend refinements to the Class-G platform
- UPMC: Evaluate external performance tools and measures and recommend best practices for leveraging sustainability in an integrated healthcare organization
- US Steel: Identify industry benchmarks and prepare a best-in-class assessment for the new sustainability director
- Washington Energy Services: Evaluate opportunities for leveraging sustainability and renewable energy with commercial and industrial customers
All six organizations gave us complex and challenges projects. This opportunity is exciting as well as a little daunting.
Check back for updates about how the projects are going throughout the semester!
Before Duquesne: Derick, a Pittsburgh native, attended The Ohio State University where he majored in Mandarin Chinese and minored in Business.
Why Duquesne: “I chose this MBA program for the ability to participate in the live consulting projects”. This year Derick had the opportunity to complete consulting projects with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Braskem, and B Corps. Duquesne gave him the opportunity to compete in various case competitions including the Aspen Business & Society International Case Competition and the ACG Cup. Derick was part of the team that placed 2nd place in the Aspen business & Society International MBA Competition.
Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Derick is excited to pursue a management role in a supply chain. In the future, Derick is interested in opportunities in China since he enjoys the Chinese language and culture.